8 common problems for Thai consumers addressed

PHOTO: TCC addresses 8 common consumer problems. (via NNT)

Scam calls and texts, being cheated, pricy expenses… everything isn’t always rosy in the Land of Smiles. Now, the Thailand Consumers Council has drawn up a list of eight typical real-life issues that are decreasing the quality of life for consumers in the country.

During a meeting with the Senate Committee on Human Rights, Rights and Liberty, and Consumers Protection on Monday, the TCC laid out the list of problems they identified in the areas of the environment, goods and services, health and medicine, accommodation and property, public utilities, telecommunication, and transportation.

  1. The high cost of public transportation
  2. Being cheated by sellers of defective goods
  3. High cost of services at private hospitals
  4. Being taken advantage of by public service operators
  5. Abuse of marijuana as a recreational herb and food ingredient
  6. Bureaucratic obstacles to installing household solar-panel systems
  7. Scammers sending SMS messages, and calls from call-centre gangs
  8. Being taken advantage of by property developers

After laying out these nuisances for consumers across various facets of daily life in Thailand, the TCC proposed some solutions and asked senators and the Cabinet to intervene and enact rules and legislation. They requested a decrease in government overregulation of solar panels that help households save on electric costs and an increase in government under-regulation of the legalisation of cannabis that has led to rampant recreational use.

They also requested some governmental price controls on medical treatment and transportation. Public transportation costs should be capped at 10% of the minimum wage, according to the TCC’s suggestion to the Cabinet. And they implored a measure that would push private hospitals to use standard pricing for emergency treatments as laid out by the National Health Security Office.

Private hospitals have prices set by the Medical Council of Thailand, but the TCC argued that high salaries set by the council make the cost of treatment too high. When patients come in an emergency, they often can’t choose which hospital to go to and end up bankrupted from much costlier private hospital fees.

The TCC also asked the government to be more proactive in battling call centre scammers sending SMS messages and making phone calls to bilk consumers out of money in various ways. Authorities recently busted a man trafficking Chinese call centre scam workers and added a prefix to all calls coming from IP phone numbers likely to be used by scammers to flag the calls as people receive them.

Finally, addressing consumers being swindled by goods and services and property developers, the TCC called for a bill making defective goods the responsibility of the sellers and manufacturers. The secretary of the Senate panel suggested the TCC should negotiate first and then file civil lawsuits against businesses when consumers complain.

The TCC also argued that property developers be forbidden from keeping funds customers deposit to purchase houses or condos if the buyer is unable to be approved for a bank loan and the deal falls through.

The Senate committee advised the TCC to improve advocacy and safety for Thai consumers by sharing information and working in collaboration with the Office of the Consumer Protection Board.

SOURCE: National News Bureau of Thailand

Thailand News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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